BY KEVIN FRAZIER
Frazier is a co-host of Entertainment Tonight, and the longtime host of several
shows on ESPN's SportsCenter. As part of our Better
Man Project series, he
shares what he learned about success from his father.
I had a great bond with my father. Even when I was a kid, my bond with my dad
made me want to be a father myself one day.
My dad was a basketball coach in college and the NBA, and he’d let me sit on the
bench during games. When I was around five or six, I had to sit on the end, but
as I got older, he’d let me sit with him and the other coaches.
During games, he’d turn and talk to me about what was happening. He'd explain
his strategies, and why he never worried if things were looking grim. Even if
the team was losing, my dad was always calm.
He’d tell me, “Sure, we’re down by ten, but the game’s not over yet. Let’s talk
about what could happen.”
I think about that to this day. It’s easy to get rattled and nervous when you’re
sitting there in front of a television camera, but my mind goes back to that
coaches bench, with my dad beside me, talking me through the most incredibly
nerve-wracking moments of the game, and I relax.
Talking through troubles, staying calm in the face of adversity, that’s what my
father taught me. It’s an invaluable lesson, because there’s no shortage of
adversity and mistakes to be dealt with.
My first son Tony was born when I was only eighteen. I was a still a kid, I
wasn’t ready to be a dad, so he was put up for adoption and went off to live
with a family that could care for him.
Eighteen years later, my now ex-wife and I were dealing with the terribly
upsetting aftershocks of a miscarriage. We’d thrown tons of money and effort and
hope into an in vitro procedure, and it failed.
I started to feel like God had cursed me, that I had to make things right with
Tony or nothing would ever be right ever again.
I reached out to him shortly after he graduated high school. He was working as a
mechanic. I insisted that we reconnect. I told him. “I know you didn't grow up
with me, but we have to make this thing right.”
And we did. Slowly, but we did. He ended up going through college, at my
It wasn’t easy between us. There were a lot of years to make up, and a lot of
bad feelings to be worked through.
We played a lot of golf together. Just the two of us, alone on a golf course,
with nothing to do but swing the clubs and talk. The chance to be alone with
someone for four hours, two times a week, and just talk is an amazing thing.
A father and a son, in the middle of a sport that they both love, talking each
other through the most incredibly nerve-wracking moments of life.
Tony and I are extraordinarily close these days, and it's because we kind of
rekindled this thing together. Even though we missed all these years, we value
the years now.
We talk every single day. And I’ve been much more proactive with my two younger
sons. I don't want to miss a practice, I want to sit down and talk with them
every day, to take it all in. Tony is the same way with his own son. It’s
something we learned from our own mistakes.
It’s a great thing to have a bond with your children.